Somehow, someway, when it looked like the Irish were going to choke away the game, it didn’t. Notre Dame (4-0) overcame inconsistent play as graduate student guard Dane Goodwin dragged them across the finish line to beat Lipscomb by a score of 66-65.
It was a slow start for the home team. The Irish found themselves down 5-0 before a three-pointer by Goodwin got them going. But even still, Notre Dame didn’t take its first lead until the 10:16 mark of the first half. Before a three by graduate student guard Trey Wertz put Notre Dame up 15-14, the Irish were shooting just 5-14 from the field and 2-9 from beyond the arc.
On the other side, sophomore guard Trae Benham scored 12 of the first 14 points for the Bisons (2-2). But Goodwin responded for the Irish, knocking down another three and a turnaround jumper in the paint to help put Notre Dame up 26-18 and force a Lipscomb timeout with just under five minutes left in the half. Then the very next Irish possession out of the timeout, Goodwin knocked down a deep three from the top of the key to make it 29-18.
But the Irish wouldn’t score for the rest of the period. Aside from Goodwin, no player scored more than six points in the first half. Goodwin was 6-8 from the floor and 3-5 from deep while the rest of the Irish combined to go 6-23 and 2-15, respectively.
Goodwin’s stellar half especially made up for a lackluster offensive performance by graduate student forward Nate Laszewski. At the break, Laszewski had just two points on 1-7 shooting from the field and 0-1 shooting from three, although he did pull down seven rebounds and block two shots in the opening stanza.
A turnaround jumper by graduate student guard Cormac Ryan took the lid off the rim 1:11 into the second period, and Laszewski finally scored his second bucket with 16:54 left in the game. He followed that up with his first three-pointer of the contest on the next possession, which he followed up by drawing a foul beyond the ark and making all three free throws on the next trip down.
Another Goodwin deep ball with 12:48 to go returned the Notre Dame lead to double digits at 44-34. But Santa Clara responded with a 6-0 run that forced a Notre Dame timeout with 10:54 to play. Laszewski knocked down another three after (very annoying) back-to-back team- and media-timeouts. Then Goodwin drained another one to make it 50-40 with just under 10 minutes remaining.
A couple more Lipscomb baskets cut the lead to six before a Laszewski and-1. Then Wertz answered another bucket with a three-pointer to make it 56-46 and force a Bisons timeout at the 7:39 mark.
But as has become a theme so far this season, Notre Dame’s opponent refused to go away. The Irish seemed to answer with timely baskets, but the Bisons staged a ferocious comeback, thanks in part to a pair of threes from Benham. The second one was a contested rainbow shot that went in despite a foul by Ryan, giving Lipscomb a 63-61 lead, its first lead since 14-12 in the first half.
Ryan answered with a pull-up jumper to tie the game with 1:46 to go, but the Bisons took a two-point lead back on the next possession. The Irish managed to hold defensively on the next two possessions and Ryan drove and drew the defense. Goodwin found himself inexplicably open beyond the arc as Ryan kicked it to him for the go-ahead three-pointer with 14.5 seconds left.
Lipscomb elected to not call timeout on the following possession and sophomore guard Derrin Boyd missed a jumper over the outstretched arm of Laszewski with two seconds left. The Bisons grabbed the offensive board but time expired before they could get a shot off as the Irish pulled out the 66-65 win.
Goodwin led the Irish with 24 points on 9-13 shooting from the floor and 6-8 shooting from deep. Laszewski matched Goodwin in minutes played (all 40 on the night) and chipped in 16 points and nine rebounds thanks to a bounce-back second half. Starling finished with 11 points whiled Wertz and Ryan contributed eight and seven, respectively.
Another Irish Win
Oh yeah, and there was another game in South Bend Friday night. No. 1-seeded Notre Dame women’s soccer played host to No. 8-seed Santa Clara for a second-round NCAA Tournament contest. In the midst of 20-degree temperatures and snow flurries, the Irish had the Broncos on their heels for virtually the entire contest, prevailing by a score of 4-0.
Notre Dame outshot Santa Clara 26-0 in the first half, including 11 shots on goal, and finally found the back of the net on a penalty kick from sophomore midfielder Korbin Albert in the 44th minute of the period.
The Irish followed that up with two goals in a span of 34 seconds in the 48th minute of play. First, Albert scored after juking her defender in the box and finding the bottom left corner with her left foot. Then, the Irish got a transition opportunity as freshman midfielder Laney Matriano dribbled from near midfield to just outside the box and put the ball in the same spot as Albert for a 3-0 lead. It was Matriano’s first career goal.
The Irish made it 4-0 in the 61st minute after Albert picked off a lazy pass in stride and fed it to a streaking Kiki Van Zanten as the senior forward chipped it over the goal keeper.
The Irish return to the pitch on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. for a matchup with No. 5-seed TCU.